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ILCC members selected to share community stories with The Facing Project

Illinois Campus Compact and the Facing Project partnered to offer 5 ILCC member campuses the opportunity to tell their community stories through the Facing Project.

The members selected to initiate a story telling project are: The University of Chicago, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Illinois College, Northern Illinois University, and Illinois Institute of Technology.

These Facing Projects will bring together community partners, students, staff, faculty, storytellers, writers, artists, volunteers and their broader communities to learn from and inspired by the stories of their neighbors shared in first-person narrative to create new, hyper-local conversations and actions.

Illinois College: Congolese Immigrant Stories

Under the direction of Nancy Taylor-Porter, Associate Professor of Theatre and Academic Director of the First-Year Experience, along with 18 first-year students and several community service agencies, this Facing Project will tell the stories of Congolese immigrants who have immigrated to central Illinois to work in a meat processing factory.

Illinois Institute of Technology: Facing Stereotypes

Under the direction of Lynne Meyer, Director of Spiritual Life and Diversity, this Facing Project will pair students with residents of the Bronzeville neighborhood on the south side of Chicago to tell the stories of this vibrant, and often miscategorized, community.

Northern Illinois University: Facing Incarceration

Under the direction of Michaela Holtz, Associate Director of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning and Coordinator of Community Engagement, this Facing Project will connect to the university’s common read, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and tell the stories of those who have faced the impacts associated with incarceration.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology: Facing Two Chicagos

Led by the Director of Community Partnerships, Jill Glenn, and AmeriCorps VISTA Shawnteal Peery, along with a variety of community partners, this Facing Project will tell the stories of those who live in underserved areas of the west and south-sides of Chicago—sharing a vibrant and diverse voice that’s often overlooked.

The University of Chicago: Being Neighbors

Under the direction of Chris Skrable, Associate for Community-Based Research and Experiential Learning, in partnership with the nonprofit news organizations The South Side Weekly and the student-led Weekly, this Facing Project will tell stories from both sides of the border between campus and the city to document, and honestly face, all that neighboring has been, has failed to be, and yet could become.


Hello Illinois Campus Compact VISTAs!


For those of you I haven’t met, or spoken to yet, I am Natalie Furlett, the Executive Director of Illinois Campus Compact.  I am so excited to work with you all!  Some of you are brand new to your positions, some are second year VISTAs continuing your roles, and some of you haven’t started yet but I wanted to reach out with some information.

First of all, we have two wonderful VISTA leaders who will be starting later this month.  Jordan Hall will be located down at Parkland College in Champaign and Cory Ferrer will be working out of the ILCC offices in Chicago.  Both have been VISTAs and are very excited to be working with you this year.  They will be organizing trainings, helping to gather information for our VISTA reporting, and generally supporting you in the work you are doing on campus.  They are both finishing their VISTA year on campuses but are available through email at Feel free to cc me as well since they are finishing up their current VISTA assignments.

Second, we are firming up our calendar for the year but I wanted to let you all know that we will have an all VISTA and VISTA supervisor training on September 23rd here in Chicago.  It will be an all-day training as an opportunity to learn about ILCC and what other VISTAs are doing on their campuses.  For VISTAs – this is a required event.  If you are coming from out of town, we will pay for your transportation and lodging if needed.  Once our VISTA leaders start at the end of the month, they will be in touch with details.  For VISTA supervisors – your training will not be all day.  We would invite you to meet in the morning with the VISTAs, then we will have an hour of conversation with just the supervisors.  You are more than welcome to join us for lunch as well.  For those out of town, there will be a conference call option available.  More details to come.

Lastly, a few of you have asked me about VISTA reports.  For those of you continuing your second year, please continue the monthly reports as you have been.  For new VISTAs, you will receive information from me soon about how, when, and where to send information about the work that you are doing.  Look for that by the end of next week.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I look forward to working with you all!  I’ll be making my way around the state this fall to visit everyone!




Join Forces with Illinois Campus Compact & be a Part of a National Storytelling Movement

Illinois Campus Compact is excited to announce a new partnership with The Facing Project, a nonprofit that connects people through stories to strengthen communities. The Facing Project was co-founded by Indiana Campus Compact Executive Director, J.R. Jamison, along with New York Times bestselling author Kelsey Timmerman.

The Facing Project works with campuses and communities to organize and share the stories of citizens through the talent of local writers and actors. Writers are matched with community members facing the selected topic (depression, hunger, homelessness, disabilities, etc), meet with them face-to-face, and capture their stories in the first-person. The stories are compiled into a book and brought to life on stage through a community theatre event.
Since its founding in 2012, The Facing Project has worked with 30 communities/campuses in eight states and two countries and has been hailed by The Huffington Post as one of three oral history projects to watch.
As a member campus of Illinois Campus Compact, you have the opportunity to win a Facing Project for your campus/community. Together, Illinois Campus Compact and The Facing Project will select up to five campuses to receive:

  • The Facing Project Toolkit – The Toolkit is a guide to help campuses/communities plan and launch their Facing Project from A to Z. The 70+ page Toolkit consists of examples, worksheets, checklists, consent forms, recruitment flyers, and other templates.
  • Web Hosting – Each campus/community receives their own website, with their own unique URL, through The Facing Project that tells their community’s story and connects them to other campuses/communities around the world doing Facing Projects. The Facing Project will host this website for one year.
  • Web Site Training – Training on how to access the site and upload content.
  • Writer Training – Facing Project staff train all project writers.
  • Connectors – Each campus/community is assigned a Facing Project expert who walks organizers through the Toolkit, is available for questions/brainstorming, and is their liaison with the Facing Project HQ throughout the project development.
  • Editors – Each campus/community is assigned a Facing HQ editing team who reviews each project’s stories and provides feedback.

This $1,500 value is yours for FREE if your campus is one of the five selected!
Here’s how to enter:

Please submit a one-page abstract to by Friday, July 8th, using the following outline as your guide:

  1. Why is your campus/community interested in The Facing Project?
  2. What topic does your campus/community plan to face? (ex: Facing Homelessness, Facing
  3. Depression, etc.)
  4. Who will be a partner with your campus on the project? (ex: nonprofits, Mayor’s councils, etc.) 
  5. Who will be internal partners on the project? (ex: campus clubs, departments/courses, etc.)
  6. How do you envision Illinois Campus Compact being involved in your project?
  7. What will be the timeline for your project?
  8. How do you plan to use the stories to create community conversations beyond the book launch? 

To learn more about The Facing Project and to get ideas for your abstract, visit
Please note, your abstract is only a pitch and does not need to be fully fleshed out. We are looking for good ideas and know that your project planning will come together after you are awarded your Facing Project.